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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Pension Reform in Bulgaria—Increasing Youth Unemployment

by | April 27th, 2015 | 03:04 pm

Like many countries in Eastern Europe and the developed world generally, Bulgaria faces the challenge of unfunded liabilities in its pension system. Reforming the system has been debated in Bulgaria over the past decade. Recent proposals for reform, including the introduction of higher social security taxes in lieu of raising the mandatory retirement age, and […]

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Brazil’s Adjustment: It’s (not) Mostly Fiscal

by | April 23rd, 2015 | 04:51 pm

Much has been said recently about the urgent need for fiscal adjustment in Brazil. Finance Minister Joaquim Levy conveyed this message during his trip to Washington in April, and President Dilma Rousseff began her second term in office in January by moving toward the removal of key price distortions that have plagued the economy for […]

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The IMF’s Harmful Debt Restructuring Proposal

by | April 22nd, 2015 | 04:35 pm

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board will soon decide how far to go in imposing costs on creditors when a country requests large scale IMF assistance. Early indications based on current staff proposals are that its decision will weaken the international financial architecture and the structure of global capital markets. The current IMF staff […]

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What Prevents Pension Reform in Russia?

by | April 22nd, 2015 | 08:59 am

The Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, announced in mid-April that without a major pension reform later this year, next year’s budget would be in jeopardy. Shortly afterwards, the press secretary of President Vladimir Putin, Dmtriy Peskov, said that nothing of that sort would take place and that “the President has many times stressed that reforms […]

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Ukraine’s Bond Restructuring: Surgery, Conspiracy, and Campaign

by | April 17th, 2015 | 06:03 pm

Debt restructuring is the second largest source of outside financing for Ukraine’s new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program [pdf]. The Fund itself brings $17.5 billion over four years; $9.6 billion comes from governments and other multilaterals (including Europe, the United States, and most recently, China), leaving $15.3 billion for the "debt operation." The jargon makes […]

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Russia’s Bond: It’s Official! (… and Private … and Anything Else It Wants to Be …)

by | April 17th, 2015 | 05:53 pm

Ukraine’s bond restructuring talks are in high gear, and, as ever, Russia is the trouble du jour. Not only is it threatening to hold out in the bond deal and take Ukraine to arbitration, Russia also seems poised to block International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursements to Ukraine using an arcane Fund policy on "lending into […]

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Diversity among Advanced Economies in Rebounding from Crisis

by and Jan Zilinsky | April 15th, 2015 | 04:35 pm

Newly released projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its World Economic Outlook highlight the diversity of experiences among advanced economies in rebounding from the crisis. Although most economies (including all economies shown in this blog post) are projected to return to positive growth this year and the next, differences in GDP levels and […]

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Too Much Untapped Potential to Buy into the Secular Stagnation Argument

by | April 10th, 2015 | 10:34 am

Ben Bernanke has joined Lawrence Summers in debating whether the US and other major world economies are in a period of secular stagnation, where a chronic shortfall in demand is causing and will continue to cause low growth, low inflation, and low interest rates. In the short video below, four Peterson Institute experts pointedly discuss […]

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Misinterpretations of New Data on International Reserves

by | April 7th, 2015 | 11:30 am

The posting by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the latest data on the currency composition of international reserves (COFER) as of the end of 2014 brought some overheated reactions by investment banks and the media. J.P. Morgan, for example, focused on what it said was the euro allocation hitting the lowest level since 2002 […]

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Eleven Negative Surprises in the Euro Area

by | April 6th, 2015 | 01:57 pm

In 11 cases, the European Economic Forecasts from February 2014 had anticipated higher growth rates for euro area members than actually materialized. Although last year’s GDP data is still either estimated or provisional for five euro area economies (Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, Spain, and the Netherlands), several surprises stand out: Italy, Austria, and Latvia all failed […]

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